The White House formally notified the United Nations of its intent to withdraw the US from the 2015 Paris Agreement on mitigating climate change. President Trump announced his plan to pull the US from the accord two years ago, but Article 28 of the agreement - signed Nov. 4, 2016 - prohibits any party from formally notifying the UN until three years from the date of signing, with the actual withdrawal not going into effect until one year after notification. As a result the US will be party to the agreement until Nov. 4, 2020, one day after the 2020 presidential election. The agreement, the cornerstone of the Obama administration's environmental legacy (quick summary, PDF), committed the US to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 26% from 2005 levels by 2025. The US was almost halfway to this goal by 2017 (interactive data), though it was largely driven by the replacement of coal-fired power with natural gas.
In other environmental news, pollution in India's capital city of New Delhi has reached epic proportions (see photos).
College Basketball Tips Off
The 2019-20 college hoops season begins with a big splash tonight, as the nation's top four teams meet at Madison Square Garden in the Champions Classic. The action starts with No. 3 Kansas taking on No. 4 Duke (7pm ET, ESPN), a team looking to replace three NBA lottery picks from last year's squad. That game will be followed by experience-laden No. 1 Michigan State facing off against No. 2 Kentucky (9:30pm ET, ESPN). It's the first time in program history the Spartans, who upset heavily favored Duke in last year's Elite Eight, have started the season ranked No. 1. Despite Michigan State being favored to win the national championship at 6-1 odds - followed by Kentucky (10-1), Duke (10-1), and Kansas (12-1) - the past 10 preseason favorites have failed to finish on top. Reigning champs Virginia start the season at No. 11. You can see the rest of the AP Top 25 here.
See the best nonconference games of the season, and if you're ready to prognosticate, check out way-too-early bracket projections here.
Officials overseeing the ongoing impeachment probe released transcripts from the deposition of former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and Michael McKinley, a former senior advisor to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The documents (read here and here) are the first to be publicly released from what have been a series of closed-door hearings with more than a dozen witnesses (23 subpoenas to appear have been issued with seven no-shows). Yovanovitch testified she felt pressured by Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and was abruptly recalled from her post in May; McKinley said he resigned in part over the State Department's unwillingness to defend Yovanovitch (see highlights). In related news, four administration officials declined to appear before the committees overseeing the probe yesterday, including top national security lawyer John Eisenberg.
Separately, the fight over the president's state tax returns appears to be headed to the Supreme Court.
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In The Know
Sports, Entertainment, & Culture
> Ex-NFL Pro Bowl tight end Kellen Winslow II pleads guilty to rape, sexual battery; will be sentenced in February where he faces 12-18 years in prison (More)
> Ellen DeGeneres to receive Carol Burnett Award at 77th Golden Globes (More) | ...and Carol Burnett to return to TV in "Mad About You" reboot (More)
> Previously hidden Banksy mural uncovered in London; the artwork will be displayed for the first time since it appeared back in 2008 (More)
Science & Technology
> NASA's Voyager 2 sends back its first message from interstellar space, roughly 12 billion miles from Earth (More)
> Researchers hack Alexa, Siri, and Google Home voice assistants using low power lasers pointed at their microphones (More)
> Analysis shows lead concentration in one-third of the tests in 11 major Canadian cities exceeds the national safety guidelines of 5 parts per billion (More)
Business & Markets
> All three major US stock markets indexes up (S&P 500 +0.4%, Dow +0.4%, Nasdaq +0.6%) to record highs (More)
> Earnings Season: Under Armour cuts revenue forecast, announces federal probe into accounting practices, shares down 19% (More) | Uber tops earnings expectations but loses $1b+ for the quarter, shares fall 5% (More)
> Facebook rebrands, will use FACEBOOK as corporate brand to distinguish from the Facebook app and other properties (More)
Politics & World Affairs
> More than 460 Oklahoma inmates released from prison in bid to lower incarceration rate by pardoning low-level, nonviolent offenders; is the largest single-day commutation in US history (More)
> NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill to step down, Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea to take over; O'Neill leaves with major crimes at record low (More)
> Apple pledges $2.5B to help ease California housing crisis, with bulk going toward low-income housing assistance and first-time homebuyer financing (More)
Mapping Louisiana's "Cancer Alley"
ProPublica | Staff. The parishes along the Mississippi River between New Orleans and Baton Rouge are unaffectionately known as Cancer Alley due to the numerous chemical plants that dot the banks. This interactive report maps in unprecedented detail the spread of toxic air from more than 200 plants across just seven parishes. (Read)
The Mavening of Sportswriting
The Ringer | Bryan Curtis. After months of butting heads with its new owners, the popular sports website Deadspin saw its exasperated staff conduct a mass editorial exodus. The site's rapid death spiral shocked even those who have criticized digital media's ongoing shift from quality to quantity, driven by outdated concepts of what readers want. (Read)
...and here's how it paralleled what happened at Sports Illustrated ($$, New Yorker).
Sustainability and kindness.
On top of their commitment to simplicity, Brandless is also driven by goals of sustainability and kindness. Wherever and whenever they can, their team makes a priority of reducing waste, reusing materials, and recycling! What's more, every time you check out with Brandless, they make a donation to someone facing hunger in the US.
Historybook: "Gone with the Wind" actress Vivien Leigh born (1913); Franklin D. Roosevelt is first and only US president elected to third term (1940); Saddam Hussein is sentenced to death (2006); HBD Google Android operating system from Google (2007).
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